Saturday, October 13, 2018

Bucket List

Bucket List

Some might say that moving to a small village in France would be something for a bucket list, that our adventures and experiences here would take up a lot of the volume of a galvanized bucket. But, after awhile, can that bucket be replenished as it’s contents splash or trickle out?
I’ve never formalized a list of dreamed experiences. For now at least my curiosity has been satisfied with unexpected discoveries nearby or opportunities that arise randomly. These random adventures surprise me. I love them. I’m getting to know unknown places - they just aren’t fixed, prioritized, and listed.

A year or so ago Tom started talking about his bucket list. This seemed strange from someone that would rather have dirt or water in a bucket that is being used for “practical” things. When asked about his bucket list he said, “Go to the Grand Canyon” —and….. “That’s it.”
When we found ourselves with 10 days between a wedding in New Hampshire and a wedding in Michigan we decided to check off the one thing on Tom’s list. Is it ok to check off the first and last thing on your bucket list when you are just 60?

I guess if you only have the one thing you might as well go in a mind-blowing way. Being in the United States this trip was not exotically foreign. We didn’t raft the Colorado River, or hike, so the adventure was not physically challenging. This was an adventure that confronted the bounds of mental comprehension.

Those of you that have been to the Grand Canyon know how happy Tom was that this what inspired his one-experience long list. We got up before sunrise to find a place to sit quietly and watch the majesty of the sun forcing the colors of the canyon to change. The sun shadows played with and flattened and rounded the structures of the eroded landscape. Our brains tried to make peace with the volume before us in this sacred space. These quiet hours changed our lives. I don’t really know what I mean by “changed our lives.” It’s just that seeing the earth sculpted and formed by erosion and time and the power of the sun’s coloring palette strikes something new in your brain. 

We walked up and down the National Park’s South Rim Trail all day long for several days. Passing the same view point three, four, five times and never seeing the vista in the same way. We paused to read all of the geological information panels and looked at the canyon’s great variety of rock types. Tom recounted the story that had fixated him on the Grand Canyon in the first place. He’d read the  book The Emerald Mile, the true story of the fastest trip ever on the Grand Canyon portion of the Colorado River. He couldn’t stop wondering what it was that compelled folks to risk their lives on a rafting adventure down the muddy, dangerous Colorado River. Here, experiencing a tiny part of the canyon in person, we felt a connection to the draw and mystery of that Grand Canyon.

In the evenings we stalked the perfect lookout for sunset. Turns out everywhere is perfect and magical. Not a bad seat in the house.
 I can’t say how glad we are that we went out west. It’s too early to ask him, but I wonder if this has inspired any other adventurous ideas for Tom.

We’re back in our small village in France. The colors are different as the sun washes from morning to evening. Living under one of the tallest castle towers in France has a new perspective. Geology has shaped a quiet, narrow valley just perfect for filling up and emptying out a bucket full of dreams.


Meg Hart-Smith said...

Thank you, Susan. Sometimes the greatest adventure is to embrace the stillness and take in the magic of the surroundings. You remind me that I need to see the Grand Canyon as an adult!

MaryLou said...

So beautiful, I want to cry. Thank you!! ❤️

anne fitchie said...

pleased to see the pictures you took, absolutely stunning and inspiring.xx

Unknown said...

Happy tom jumped onto his bucket list with you...youexperienced one of teh most amazing natural wonders of our amazing world..and now you are back in another. Fabulous colours and natural light..mesmerising. xx

Susan Stewart said...

Such a beautiful post. I thank you from my heart, captured by the sunchanging unceasing summons of the vistas of the southwest.

Unknown said...

Lovely pictures and beautiful words to describe what was an incredible visit to the Grand Canyon. No wonder Tom only has one thing on his Bucket List...there wasn't room for more!

Unknown said...

Tell Tom to research the Havasupai Reservation in the Grand Canyon. We hiked down there and stayed a few days in the town. Beautiful waterfalls of the canyon there.

Unknown said...

"Geology has shaped a quiet, narrow valley just perfect for filling up and emptying out a bucket full of dreams."

I love this - I now live in Nice, and feel it offers endless opportunities to refill the dream bucket. I will never tire of walking by the sea or visiting the quiet hill towns. Retiring in France has been a dream come true.